Letter to Community: Winter Weather Reminder

December 13, 2022


Dear Gananda Families,


It appears we may have some wintry weather later this week. As such, I would like to share some information on how we make the decision to close schools. Much to the chagrin of our elementary students, it has nothing to do with backwards clothes, ice cubes in toilets or spoons under pillows.  Nor does it have anything to do with my favorite myth, my ability to see the Nims’ dog through the snow in the morning.  


Discussions regarding a closure typically begin the day prior to a significant weather event.  I communicate with our weather service and speak to both our Transportation and Facilities Directors to make sure we have the same information. They will speak with the town highway supervisors and our plow crews, respectively.  We will then establish timelines for the reporting of our plow crews and transportation staff.  The day of the event we begin communicating with all parties between 4:30 and 5:00am. My goal is to make a final decision for a school closure by 6:15am.  


If a decision to close is made, we will send notifications through ParentSquare as an email, text message, phone call, and push notification depending on your account settings. We will also post a notice on our website, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter social media accounts. Additionally, the local news stations will be notified to include the closing on TV. Multiple outlets are used in the event that one of them is not working properly, or we are unable to access a particular system. Be sure that your contact information is up-to-date in ParentSquare so you will receive our closure notifications. If you have any difficulty updating your information, please contact [email protected]


If the weather worsens while we are in school, we will continue to monitor the weather to determine if there is a need for an early release or cancellation of after school activities. We also engage other districts, regarding the conditions in their school districts, before determining whether to continue with after school activities. Decisions to cancel after school activities are typically made prior to 2pm.   In such an event, all secondary students will be sent home at the first dismissal.  When after school activities are canceled this include athletics, clubs, performances and outside groups. This is typically due to the need to shift all facilities staff to snow clearing.


Finally, the decision to close versus remain open is never made without significant discussion. I recognize that no matter what the decision is, others would make a different decision. Therefore, I remind you that as parents/guardians, you make the final decision. If you believe the roads are unsafe, or that it is too cold for your child to be on the bus or in school, you can choose to keep them home. 


As we head into the winter season, a quick reminder: Please make sure your student, whether 6 or 16, is dressed appropriately with pants (no shorts), boots, a jacket, a hat and gloves. 


You can find additional information to help you understand our responses to specific weather events on the following: Weather Decision Point Spreadsheet.


Sincerely,


Shawn Van Scoy, Ed.D

Superintendent, Gananda Schools